Thank You, Mood! Inside Project Runway’s One-Stop Fabric Shop

A fresh season of Project Runway is upon us, and Thursday’s episode will feature the contestants’ first field trip to Mood Designer Fabrics. (The season nine opener required them to rework their own pajamas, assisted only by a smattering of Mood-supplied trimmings and dye. It was not pretty.) The reality competition show’s favorite one-stop materials shop, home to 40,000 square feet worth of fabric and a Boston terrier named Swatch, recently got its close-up in The New York Times. Writer Adriane Quinlan visited the Sauma family, which has owned Mood since 1993, to watch last week’s Project Runway premiere and talk textiles:

What began as a family store has become an empire with a wholesale division, a home décor wing and a Web site started last year to supply internationally. The expansion is partly helped by the show, which does not pay to film in the store in exchange for mentioning Mood on air. (Yes, designers do pay for the goods they carry out.)

When the show began, [Philip] Sauma said, it was “a bit weird” to see the workplace onscreen. Now he just notices things to improve: shelves to be moved, bolts to reorganize. Still, it is always strange to see the host, Tim Gunn, petting his brother’s dog, Swatch. “Sometimes he sees himself on television,” Jack Sauma, the store’s founder and Philip’s father, said of the dog. “And he moves his head like, ‘Who was that?’”